Thursday, February 10, 2011

CETA: be very afraid!

Have you heard of CETA? Acronym for Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. I just heard about it a few hours ago over dinner while having a family discussion about  a recent talk by Maude Barlow at the University of Guelph.
The first thing that popped into my head upon hearing the word CETA was "CETAcean", the order of mammals consisting of whales and dolphins. Well, CETA is a whale of a trade agreement which, if implemented, would, in the words of Terry Boehm of the National Farmers Union, "be more draconian than WTO or NAFTA." Negotiations have been behind closed doors and the national media hasn't placed this in the news spotlight on a consistent basis.
I thought I was up on my current events but this flew in under my radar. Trade agreements are more in the domain of bureaucrats and technocrats, bland, boring and uninteresting. This proposed agreement would have a more significant impact on the lives of all Canadians than hot-button and glamorous topics like the proposed purchase of F-35 fighter jets, corporate tax cuts,  economic stimulus packages, or tainted food that may have affected scores of people.
Herewith are direct quotes from Ish Theilheimer of

"The intellectual property chapter would virtually eliminate the rights of farmers to save, reuse and sell seed, providing biotech, pharmaceutical, pesticide, seed and grain companies powerful new tools to essentially decide who should farm and how. What this will mean for farmers is, say they found their crops contaminated with a protected variety, they could be accused of infringing, they could have their equpment, their cropss, their farms seized and their bank accounts frozen in order to ensure these monopolistic biotech and grain companies are adequately compensated."

Denis Lemelin of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers said deregulation and privatization of postal services is likely under the deal. "What they want with this agreement is full access to all postal services. This will just open the door. They want to dergegulate international mail. You open the market and big corporations will come and and take the service."

"The proposed deal would have an adverse impact on public services, such as waste, drinking water, and public transit. The proposed rules would entrench commercialization, especially public-private partnerships; prohibit governments from obliging foreign investors to purchase locally, transfer technology or train local workers; and make it far harder for governments to reverse failed privatizations."

It behooves us therefore, to be aware of these developments and to bring and voice out our concerns to the policy-makers and our elected officials. Our future well-being depends on our involvement!

No comments:

Post a Comment